Leave the Experiments for the Scientists
Updated: Dec 5, 2020
By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
“And they should at least consider switching things up and temporarily ending the Harry experiment” - Doug Kyed
Doug Kyed, in his “one thousand seven hundred word” article, blamed the Patriots offensive struggles on N’Keal Harry*.
Not Cam Newton, who has 128 more passing yards than Dak Prescott and Newton has played in 5 more games. Newton also has 9 INTs and 4 passing TDs.
Kyed didn’t blame Bill Belichick, the architect of the 2020 roster. He didn’t blame Josh McDaniels, who is calling the plays.
The blame was foisted on the easiest target on the team: the non-New Englander, who was drafted in the 1st Round, who has underperformed.
Here is a link to the article and you can judge it for yourself: https://nesn.com/2020/12/patriots-offensive-problems-are-numbers-game-nkeal-harry-is-involve/
Instead of “ending the...experiment”, FP SPORTS is here to give writers and Josh McDaniels some ideas on how to use Harry, effectively, so that the Patriots can potentially make the playoffs.
Actually throw him the ball, especially when wide-open - One thing that Kyed’s article pointed out is that since Harry has come back from a concussion, he has been WR3, in an offense that runs a lot of 2 WR sets. McDaniels should change that. First, play more 3 WR sets. Second, put Harry in on 2 WR sets. There was a play on Sunday where Harry ran across the field wide-open, for yards, and Newton pointed him to double coverage 🤔 Newton should have thrown Harry the ball. Instead he held it and almost threw an INT, which is expected this season.
Get the ball to him early - I understand in New England, the NFL team and the region, running the ball is important. Actually utilizing your 1st Round investment early in the game plan may work 💡. When you have been standing on the sidelines, coming into the game and gettin an off-target duck from Newton might not be the easiest pass to catch. In Point 1, I mentioned playing Harry in more 2 WR sets. If Harry is in on these types of sets and he gets one-on-one coverage, send Harry deep and throw a pass that Harry can make a play on. To this point, Harry doesn’t run comebacks and quick slants hard. He is better on tracking balls down the field. He is also good in the slot, if the defense plays zone, getting to the 15-20 yard crossing route going towards the sideline
The Patriots could also experiment with Harry in a TE-type role. He could be in the slot but closer to the line of scrimmage and catch passes in the middle of the field. He could also potentially line-up in the backfield with the QB and RB in shotgun or pistol formations. The Patriots could use elements of how they deployed Aaron Hernandez.
Harry needs at least 2 running plays a game. These could be jet sweeps or reverses. In Point 3, I mentioned lining up in the backfield. Another comparable is Cordarelle Patterson. Harry shouldn't be a full-time running back but trying to use him in different ways can help him in his strictly WR duties.
In ordinary times, I believe Bill Belichick and McDaniels would keep Harry off the field. In this season, the Patriots are trying new things like running a Armed Forces Academy offense, i.e Navy or Army. They should try and utilize a piece that can make the whole experiment a success. Especially, if they use some or all of the methods above.
P.S: Didn't the "greatest coach of all time" coach WR/TE in the NFL 🤔
*Harry was a FP SPORTS Top 10 Player in 2019
(Cover photo via Rivals)